Milk Kefir

Milk Kefir is considered a wonder-drink. Let’s see why this beverage is making waves in the healthy living community

Milk Kefir is a cultured, fermented dairy beverage that tastes very similar to a yogurt drink. It’s made using a starter of “Kefir Grains”, which is a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars.

Kefir and Yogurt have a lot in common but also have many differences. They differ in consistency, nutrient content, and how they’re made. Since Kefir is fermented, most lactose intolerant people can tolerate Kefir.

Some sites recommend that you buy Kefir from the stores. There are many sources that recommend that you prepare Kefir by yourself. My own experience was that I liked the taste of my home grown batch of Kefir much better than the ones that I bought from the store.

Here’s how Kefir is prepared at home.

The main ingredients are Kefir starter grains and Milk (preferably full-fat milk, and not the UHT varieties)

The process is very simple – add a teaspoon of kefir grains to table spoon of full fat milk and mix well. Add this to a cup of milk  and let it sit out at room temperature in a cool dark place for about 24 hours. After the 24 hour period, strain the Kefir grains using a plastic strainer. Your Kefir drink is now ready for consumption.

Here’s what you also need to know :

  • The ‘Kefir Grains’ are living cultures and can be re-used as the starter for subsequent batches. After preparing your batch of Kefir, strain the Kefir Grains. You could store the grains by placing them in a cup of milk and keep in the refrigerator. Stored this way Kefir grains can remain viable for multiple uses.
  • The grains enlarge in the process of Kefir production, even reaching a walnut size, and eventually they split.
  • As the grains grow, you will also notice that your Kefir Milk ferments faster and becomes sourer. If you would like your drink to be less sourer, reduce the quantity of Kefir grains.
  • Make sure that the Kefir grains do not come in contact with metal utensils (spoons, strainers, bowls etc.). Proponents say that contact with metals can spoil the Kefir grains. They recommend that you could use glass bottles, wood or plastic spoons and plastic strainers for producing Kefir.
  • While washing the grains, use filtered or distilled water. Make sure that you maintain a high level of hygiene while producing your batches.
  • When you start on a new starter batch of Kefir Grains, your first batch of production may have an odor. If you are sensitive to the smell, then you could discard the first two batches.

Organic On A Budget

Organic food is often more expensive than conventionally grown food. With organic products being a lifestyle choice and with prices frequently being on the higher side, our organic choices can have an impact on our budget. However if you know your priorities and set spend boundaries, it may be possible to purchase organic food and stay within your food budget.

Here are 7 ways to help you budget your organic purchases.

1. Track Current Spending

It’s helpful to figure out what you are spending on food. Keep your organic purchase receipts for 2 months, to get a realistic picture of your current spending preferences. If you feel inclined, create a spreadsheet to break down your spending by category, including beverages, produce, etc. Once you’ve done this, you can get an idea of where to trim down spending. Tie this in with the monthly food budget (if you haven’t yet made a food budget, then it is a good time to begin).

2. Plan Your Meals

It’s much easier to stick to a budget when you have a plan. Plus, having a purpose for each food item you buy will ensure nothing goes to waste or just sits in your pantry unused. While planning, it’s tempting to opt for every meal being a grandiose experience. Big mistake. These make it difficult to be consistent in following. Start simple with easy salads and simple dishes. Give yourself a two month trial period before moving to more complex plans.

Bottled Water … Safe? Think Again

The average adult human body is comprised of 50-65% of water. A no-brainer then that keeping hydrated is essential to your health. Most of us are conscious about the health benefits of drinking water and keep our plastic bottles at easy reach. Convenient indeed, but did you know that the plastic bottled water may be doing more harm than good.

Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of plastic bottled water.

BPA a frequent component of plastic bottles and in most food packaging plastics is a chemical that mimics hormones.

Studies indicate that BPA, even in minute quantities can lead to a variety of hormonal changes, including early puberty in females, reduction in sperm count, causing men to grow breasts and increased rates of reproductive cancers. The harmful effects are also pronounced in newborns and young children exposed either directly or indirectly through their mother.

Hormones are the most critical component in fertility in both men and women, and hormone problems are most commonly implicated in impaired fertility. Hormone disruptors such as chemicals in plastics send mixed signals. These cause some reproductive hormones to be produced excessively and while lowering the production of other hormones.

Both genders are equally susceptible, with hormonal imbalances such as those with estrogen reduce the ability to conceive.

Boys seem to be the most at risk for severe alterations before and during puberty.

Research continues to alert that the increase in estrogenic chemicals, like BPA and other plastic materials, has contributed significantly to cancers such as breast cancer, testicular cancer and prostate cancer.